There was speculation at the end of the regular season that the Marlins might have interest in bringing Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano aboard this winter to pair him with his off-field friend and fellow Venezuelan native Ozzie Guillen.
Now those rumors are gaining serious traction.
According to beat writer Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, Venezuela’s El Nacional is reporting that Guillen — the new Miami Marlins skipper — has already reached out to Big Z about a potential trade.
Zambrano is owed a whopping $18 million salary next season, so any deal is going to be tough to swing. But if the Marlins are willing to take on more than half of that remaining cash commitment, they should be able to make the marriage a reality.
Zambrano, 30, posted an underwhelming 4.82 ERA and 101/56 K/BB ratio in 145 2/3 innings this season, but he still has a cool 3.60 career ERA and 7.6 career K/9. Maybe he’ll flourish again with a change of scenery.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.